Singapore has its critics, but the city-state has achieved remarkable successes as a result of the voluntary trade-off of certain political rights for economic and social progress. In Governing Singapore, Raj Vasil supports this national bargain. He argues that in Asian new states like Singapore, economic and social under-development, as well as ethnic diversity and divisions make it impossible for Western liberal democracy to function effectively as an instrument of popular rule. The problems of under-development faced by Asian new states since decolonisation and independence continue to prove that democracy alone is not enough - national development and the need to adapt democracy to economic and social realities are equally important.
Through reconciling democracy with national development, Singapore has transformed from a poor, backward Third World island into a prosperous and dynamic First World nation. Today Singapore is far better prepared for greater democratisation and increased popular participation.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore
1. The People's Action Party: the national party
2. Creating a democracy that works
3. Managing national development
4. Leadership renewal and succession
Part 2 Goh Chok Tong's Singapore
5. Continuity and change
6. The parliamentary elections of 1991 and 1997
7. Continuing national development
Conclusion: national development and democracy
DR RAJ VASIL has researched and taught the politics of Asian states for the past 45 years, and has lived in many Asian countries. Dr Vasil is currently a Program Director at the Institute of Policy Studies and a Research Associate at the School of Political Science, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.